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Top Bar Hive Build.....

Discussion in 'Bees and Beekeeping' started by FarmerD, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. Mar 22, 2015
    Myhouseisazoo2

    Myhouseisazoo2 Lovin' The Homestead

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    I gotta say I love all the pictures and details! Are these very heavy and how many of the divider boards do you put inside of each hive? It looks like on the first set that you have quite a few but in the second set it looks like they are more separated with one every so many inch's...
     
  2. Mar 22, 2015
    FarmerD

    FarmerD Lovin' The Homestead

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    these hives will rarely move. the reason i left the legs off is so i could carry 6 hives instead of 2 the 25 miles out to the farm. when we first started with bees, our tiny tractor had died and we had to borrow one to mow the thick brambles down just to have somewhere to place them. for that reason, we picked the easiest places to get to and mow. now we have an awesome tractor that allows us to clear areas that will be dedicated apiaries. in the pics above im using the tractor to lift and move empty hives to a staging area for placement into a new apiary. eventually all the hives will find new permanent homes. the goal is to have several smaller apiaries tucked into the landscape around the farm with 2 dozen or so hives in each apiary. im still crunching the numbers to figure out 1) how many hives the 2 of us can reasonably keep up with 2) what ratio of 4' hives to 2' nucs to keep that will give us the most 3lbs splits with queens to sell, but also keeps us in a position of being able to rebuild in a year if something catastrophic occurs and 3) how much of the farms income should we generate from the bees. bees are alot of work, but i know we can sell all the packages and queens we could make. i havent formally finished the business plan yet, but $50k seems very attainable assuming decent weather conditions and normal pest/disease pressures. all that business would occur between march and may, freeing up the rest of the year for other pursuits.

    as to the folding legs..... i have considered several options on the legs. the strongest, most reasonable option that wouldnt increase the cost and time to build severely would be to build the legs as separate units using a jig and bolt it to the hive from the outside. i could then pull the bolts and leg assemblies and slide the hive bodies in the truck. problem is, i dont plan to move these..... and any addition to the build time is a pain. not to mention, they only weigh about 65-75 lbs empty, but closer to 200 or more loaded with bees and honey. handling 200 lbs of angry bees in a TBH is nearly an impossibility. you really have to be careful not to jar it causing the comb to collapse. it appears to be a somewhat legit way to move them with the loader though.... the hive can swing slightly reducing the chance of shock..... still needs some work to perfect though. i still may switch to the removable leg "units" going forward to make replacement easier though. the legs are the thing i think will fail first due to the eventual rot that will occur at the bases.
     
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  3. Mar 22, 2015
    FarmerD

    FarmerD Lovin' The Homestead

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    each hive will have 2 movable divider boards to control the internal size of the hive and 2 entrances on opposite ends of the hive. this gives me the option of running 2 smaller colonies in one big box or i can close off one entrance and just have one colony in the box. the smaller hives have been coined "nucs" or nucleus colonies. they tend to over winter well due to the smaller amount of bees/brood and also can be used for raising queens, making splits, repopulating winter losses, selling for profit, etc. last year we built 2' long hives for nucs, and even though they are quite convenient for transporting, they are a pain in the arse to work, they dont have a built in stand, and the economics for having a bunch and fixing the above problems dont work out...... thats why we are switching to all 4' equipment and putting 2 nucs in one 4' hive. i hope some of that makes sense.

    the empty hives weight about 75 lbs but balloon to 200 or more loaded
     
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  4. Mar 22, 2015
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    It all makes perfect sense and I am eagerly waiting to see how this all works out, as you seem to really know your stuff on all of this and I could learn quite a bit from watching you work. I now understand about the legs and what you are doing with your hives.

    Are you planting anything extra for bee crops and, if so, will you do a mix or have specific fields that yield mostly one kind or other of honey? I know some folks do clover, some do wildflower, some do other types of crops to influence a particular flavor, thickness and color to the honey.

    Our very first bees we had when I was growing up had a deep, dark golden brown honey that was very thick and never crystallized, no matter how old it got. We found a jar of that some years back and that jar was almost 30 yrs old and looked and tasted exactly like when we put it up. Those bees used a lot of pine pollen and then some golden rod, honeysuckle and white clover, some garden pollen...but mostly the pine pollen.
     
  5. Mar 23, 2015
    FarmerD

    FarmerD Lovin' The Homestead

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    we are planning a large part of our farm as bee forage. there will be many, many flowering perennials worked into our design that in theory will provide nearly continuous nectar flow all season long. in addition, i want to incorporate multi-species cover crop mixes as a soil building measure. this will include large areas of mixed prairie with sunflowers, buckwheat, clover, etc... we already have several good honey crops native on the farm like sweet bay, blackberry, and tupelo


    managed to get half a dozen more hive assembled and staged..... now if the weather would clear up, i could get the apiary set up!

    IMG_0926.JPG IMG_0928.JPG
     
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  6. Mar 31, 2015
    FarmerD

    FarmerD Lovin' The Homestead

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    well i baited up some of the empty equipment to try and catch some swarms while the hives are sitting idle waiting on the apiary to be cleared. while i was out working this weekend, despite the cold, there was some interest! should be going out today to work, so hopefully ill have some good news and free bees to report!
     
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  7. Mar 31, 2015
    wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Almost Self-Reliant

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    For final placement, do you put those hives onto leveled bases or just stand them in place on their legs like that? I ask because the way they are made, with the grain vertical like that, the lumber will soak up the moisture and rot out the legs faster. If you put a sacrificial piece on the bottom, that has the grain running parallel to the ground, they will last longer and it would be an easy piece to replace when it does rot out.

    I hope you are successful in getting some swarms to move in.
     
  8. Mar 31, 2015
    FarmerD

    FarmerD Lovin' The Homestead

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    Usually I put them on bricks.
     
  9. Apr 1, 2015
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Mountain Sage

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    I've heard of that working for folks but I've never seen it personally. What did you use for bait? I've heard lemongrass works well.
     
  10. Apr 1, 2015
    FarmerD

    FarmerD Lovin' The Homestead

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    I started with lemongrass oil, but also have some swarm commander in there too. Definitely have some interest but no one has moved in yet
     
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